From the 27th until the 30th of September, the Annual Meeting of SCI SAVA, thanks to the support of Youth in Action Programme took place in Kuterevo. SCI stands for Service Civil International, it is a worldwide organization that promotes culture of peace through voluntarism. SAVA is the Balkan working group of SCI. During the annual meeting, representatives of SCI groups from nine countries (Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Germany, Albania and Slovenia) came together to discuss and evaluate their cooperation, talk about procedural issues and formulate an action plan. There was a special focus on including youth with fewer opportunities in voluntary work. VUK hosted the event in the local guest house run by Butina family and took care of the logistics.
On Thursday and Friday, the representatives of the different branches shared many stories about their own activities and about cooperation with other organizations. They also evaluated the relations between the branches in SAVA and formulated strengths and weaknesses of SAVA. On Saturday and Sunday, the group worked on an action plan for 2013. The participants split up into small groups to discuss different issues, for example environmental sustainability and inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities into volunteering. There was a break from the official program on Saturday afternoon, when everyone visited a local traditional carpenter and got a tour through the bear refuge. Finally on Sunday afternoon, the member policy of SAVA was discussed. During the evenings there was time for socializing.
I (Kim) was present during most of the program, to do part of the administration and to arrange some logistic things. It was a very positive experience for me. I was(/am) very much inspired by the stories I heard about the work of the SCI branches. They organize many different work camps and some branches also organize positive and inspirational street actions. It was impressive to hear how active and big the organizations are, even though they work almost exclusively with volunteers. I also enjoyed the atmosphere during the meetings. I often find the atmosphere at meetings (in the Netherlands) quite tensed and not so pleasant. At the SAVA meeting, people were quite relaxed but still took the meeting seriously, and they were very respectful towards each other. Furthermore, it was fun!
SCI has branches all over the world. If you are interested in doing some inspiring voluntary work, have a look at their website: www.sciint.org.
A reporter from Slobodna Lika visited Kuterevo during the meeting, her article here.